Letter from Jamie and Linda
Dear Vineyard family
The Apostle Paul wrote 13 letters in the NT and with everyone he opens with essentially the same greeting. The Apostle Peter in his letters uses the same and John uses it in two of his books and we find it also in 1 Corinthians 1:3 “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Today I want to greet you with the same greeting and unpack this a little bit. Grace and peace to you!
Grace enables us to fulfil the assignment that God has given to each of us. Often when I’m asked for advice “of should I do this, should I take on this responsibility?” I will often ask well do you have a grace for it, do you sense that God is giving you grace to do this? And if you do sense God is giving you grace then you have to do it. And if not, then it is the last thing that you want to do, because you will find yourself striving in your own strength.
I believe God has called each of his followers to have Grace for this season. There is Grace for all of us, there is an anointing beyond our own strength. Personally, it is something I’m trying hard to tap into just now and I’m praying the same for you. From talking to your house group leaders this week, I know that for some of you there have been huge challenges that you are facing just now, too many to list here, and they can seem overwhelming. You are not alone, we are in this together, this crisis is affecting everyone of us in so many ways.
It is Hard, it is Difficult, and we can feel Weak in so many ways as we face these challenges. In 2 Corinthians 12 we see the Apostle Paul wishing that his circumstances were different. Whatever his thorn in the flesh was we don’t exactly know, but evidently it was something that was Hard it was Difficult and it made him feel Weak. Each of us can probably empathise a little bit with Pauls situation. In verse 9 Paul recounts what he felt the Lord say to him. It is familiar to most of us “My Grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness”
I love the message translation my Grace is enough it’s all you need. “My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” Paul even went on to say I delight in Weaknesses and Hardships and Difficulties. WHY? Because when he felt weak God’s grace was absolutely sufficient to get him through. He knew Gods strengthening and anointing that he would never have ever known otherwise. Linda and I are praying for every one of you that in this challenging season that you would experience a greater sense of God’s Grace on your life. That when you feel stretched, perhaps sometimes overwhelmed that you would take comfort in knowing that the Lord is very close and he will give you the resources to get you through. Grace to you!
Now Peace to you! In Philippians 4 Paul talks about peace and he exhorts us not to be anxious, but rather to bring our concerns to God. He says “And the peace of God which Transends all understanding will guard you're hearts and you're mind.” Watching the news facing the challenges that most of us are experiencing is enough to make most of us feel anxious, for us to lose that sense of peace in our hearts. With all of the concerns for our minds to be whirring with troubled thoughts. Which of us doesn’t need peace which God offers to guard our heart to guard our minds in these times.
This morning I arose from sleep at 2am and spent the hours of darkness into the morning dawn in prayer troubled amidst the challenges that I face. It was into that time of being before the Lord that I started to experience a level of peace which has transcended my understanding. With all the pressures demands and complexity that this crisis has thrown at me it was a sense that God is in control, that his grace is sufficient for me and his peace stilling my mind stilling my heart in a way that I fully can’t understand. My conclusion is it has to be God.
Linda and my greeting to you all is this; “Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Our prayer for you is that whatever challenges you are facing, whatever it is you are finding, Hard, Difficult and makes you feel Weak. That you would experience the supernatural enabling in all that you put your hand to and may the peace that transcends all understanding guard you're mind and guard your heart.
We miss you all.
Jamie & Linda